5 Potential WWE Return Feuds For Kurt Angle
Written by IMN on 2 Jan 2017
Article by Blake OestriecherContributor for Forbes.com
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
Kurt Angle could be headed back to WWE, joining the likes of Brock Lesnar and Goldberg as major names who have recently returned to the company.
According to the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t SEScoops), Angle is no longer accepting independent bookings with the idea that he’s WWE bound:
The Wrestling Observer reports that the Olympic gold medalist has told indy promoters that he is not accepting any dates as he’s returning to WWE in April 2017.
It should be noted that this is not the first time Angle has told promoters he’s returning to WWE but there are many rumors going around about a return for Angle, according to The Observer.
Angle, who hasn’t wrestled for WWE since 2007, has repeatedly stated his intentions of returning to the company at some point. Back in September 2016, Angle revealed that there was mutual interest from both sides about a return, and in June, he even told radio show host Mark Madden, “Will I return? Yes. I don’t know when.”
As one of the biggest free agents in all of pro wrestling, Angle appears to be headed back to the place where he became a star. But when? Where? And against who?
Let’s take a look at five potential return feuds for Angle if he indeed makes his way back to WWE.
Angle recently named Roman Reigns as one of the WWE stars he’d like to wrestle, and considering Reigns’ history of matches against major stars, you have to think that he’d be at the top of the list of superstars WWE would want Angle to face.
Reigns challenged Brock Lesnar in the main event of WrestleMania 31 and faced Triple H in the WrestleMania 32 main event, so it’s totally feasible to imagine him facing Angle in the main event of ‘Mania or another “Big Four” pay-per-view. Though Reigns gets a lot of criticism, he virtually always delivers in big matches as evidenced by his stellar bouts against Lesnar, AJ Styles and Seth Rollins, just to name a few.
Angle, of course, is a fantastic big match performer himself, and a bout against Reigns could add to his impressive resume full of incredible matches.
Again? Lesnar at Mania. Except, I’d like to be healthy this time.”
Angle is referring to his infamous WrestleMania 19 match against Lesnar, an all-time great bout that many remember for Lesnar’s nasty-looking, botched shooting star press. Lesnar and Angle had amazing chemistry during their feud more than a dozen years ago, and this would be one rekindled rivalry that, unlike Lesnar vs. Goldberg, would still be able to produce PPV main event quality matches.
Lesnar is tremendous when he’s motivated while Angle is arguably the greatest in-ring performer ever, and both can still go in the ring. Given how much their star power has increased over the years, Lesnar and Angle would be able to give us one of those rare matches between two older legends that lives up to the hype and doesn’t expose either guy.
Angle vs. Rusev would be such an easy story to write, with Rusev playing the role of the evil foreigner and Angle as the American hero who saves the day.
Though, for whatever reason, the WWE creative team doesn’t seem intent on ever getting firmly behind a Rusev push, “The Bulgarian Brute” has improved considerably in recent years and has been labeled by many as a future main eventer. Whether or not that will ever happen is certainly up for debate, but a feud with Angle could be a great way to give him a meaningful main event storyline.
The issue here is that Rusev has largely served as fodder for main event guys like Reigns and John Cena in the past (something a feud with Angle likely wouldn’t change), but in terms of simplicity, there isn’t a more elementary storyline for Angle’s return than one where the Olympic savior topples the foreign antagonist.
While both were in TNA, AJ Styles and Kurt Angle battled in some of the best matches of their careers, which is part of the reason why they’re arguably the two greatest stars in the history of that company.
Just imagine what Styles, who may be the best wrestler on the planet right now, and Angle, maybe the No. 1 in-ring performer in history, could do in WWE, with better writing and a bigger stage. A rekindled Styles/Angle storyline would basically guarantee an incredible feud and an amazing series of matches, especially if it took place on the SmackDown brand, which has done a commendable job of booking since the brand split.
A large portion of today’s WWE fans know and understand the history between Angle and Styles and would certainly appreciate this rivalry, one that could help provide Angle with a near perfect return feud and also further cement Styles as WWE’s new top star.
Here’s what Angle recently had to say about which WWE star he’d like to face if he returned to the company:
Right now, on that roster, Seth Rollins is the guy. I watch how he is, what he does, his style, his ability in the ring… Right now he’s one of the best in the world.
Whenever Angle has been in the ring with another tremendous in-ring performer, he’s created magic. Whether it was Styles, Lesnar, Eddie Guerrero or Shawn Michaels, Angle has delivered countless classics with some of the best in-ring performers of all-time. Rollins isn’t quite there yet, but at just 30 years old, he’s well on his way to becoming one of the top wrestlers in history, something that a series of matches with Angle would help him achieve.
Rollins, who already has a long resume of fantastic matches himself, is superb in the ring, but just needs that extra little something to help him get to the next level. Whether he was positioned as a heel or face against Angle (you could easily flip flop the roles) wouldn’t matter as much as “The Architect” simply getting the chance to battle an all-time great in the ring.
After all, who wouldn’t want to see Angle vs. Rollins? It’s a five-star match just waiting to happen.
Blake Oestriecher is an elementary school teacher by day and a sports writer by night. He’s a contributor to the Forbes @SportsMoneyBlog, where he focuses on the WWE, NBA and NFL. You can follow him on Twitter @BOestriecher.